Breastfeeding can be amazing, but it is not always easy! While it is instinctual, the milestone of breastfeeding is a new skill to be learned by both baby and mom. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions that make breastfeeding more difficult than it needs to be. Take it from a lactation consultant who has been there — and who knows how to help! Here are the five breastfeeding myths local lactation consultant Anne-Marie Sandoval wants to help moms work through.
1. It’s easy
Raise your hand if you have ever cried as your baby screams at your engorged breast dripping milk but just wont latch! (My hand is raised.) Despite breastfeeding being innate, it is often not easy.
The good news is, you are not in it alone! As a lactation consultant and registered nurse specializing in pediatrics, I treat moms and babies together as a cohesive dyad. You may benefit from partnering with a lactation consult for trouble with latching, sore and damaged nipples, concerns over baby’s weight, low milk supply, breast engorgement, and needing to pump. Getting help early can make all the difference in your breastfeeding journey! I happily offer free prenatal consultations.
2. Medications and breastfeeding don’t mix
One of the biggest breastfeeding misconceptions for medical providers and moms is around medications. This misconception can lead to overly cautious advice that interrupts breastfeeding or leads moms to forgo medical treatment out of fear that the medication will harm their baby. The truth is, there is reliable information available on the safety of medications while breastfeeding that moms can access in order to make informed decisions. Not all medications will be compatible, but moms deserve accurate information! The Infant Risk Center is the pioneer of lactation and medication research and information.
3. All pumps are equal
The breast pump industry is dizzying with its countless choices. I am not here to endorse any brand but to point out the importance of considering your needs when choosing a pump. Is there a medical reason why mom and baby will be separated after birth? If so, I recommend a hospital-grade pump. These can usually be rented by local medical supply companies or off the pump maker’s website. Maybe you’re a second-time mom who wants to pump on the go (school pickup line, anyone?). I recommend a wearable pump for moms to use on occasion for convenience and with established milk supply. For returning to work, many moms find a double electric pump works well at removing milk multiple times a day. No matter which pump you choose, ensure the flange fits you properly and pumping does not hurt.
4. Lactation treats and supplements will increase my milk supply
Eat the cookies! But not because they are a magic wand for your milk supply woes. Eat them because they are delicious, and lactating moms need about 500 extra calories a day. The FDA generally does not approve dietary supplement claims or labeling. Furthermore, there is very little conclusive clinical research to show that any herb or supplement alone can increase a mom’s milk supply. If you are concerned about a low milk supply, it is best to chat with a lactation professional to review your individual risk factors and create a plan.
5. I won’t know if baby is full
Breastfeeding can be elusive and full of nuance. However, there are specific and clear ways to know if a baby is satiated/full after a feeding session. Signs that a breastfeeding session went well includes rhythmic audible swallowing, milk visible in and around baby’s mouth, a calm baby who is easy to put down after feeds, softer breasts than before a feed, lots of wet and dirty diapers, and, most importantly, weight gain for baby. If you have concerns that feeds are not going well, contact your pediatrician and a lactation consultant like me!
Anne-Marie Sandoval, BSN, RN, IBCLC LLC, is on a mission to empower her clients to overcome their breastfeeding challenges. Her extensive experience as a pediatric nurse and lactation consultant means she’s fully equipped to guide, support, and assist moms and their families in navigating the nuances of breastfeeding. She has lactation support experience with all infants including primary care, NICU, cardiac, and surgical infant populations.
Anne-Marie brings a unique skillset, which allows her to develop an individualized plan that is both effective and fits a mom’s lifestyle and goals. She believes in creating a supportive environment for mom and baby to thrive. Get in touch or follow on Instagram to learn more about her personalized approach and how it can benefit you and baby!